Tennis

Marta, 15, lauded after reaching third round

Teen sensation Marta Kostyuk was hailed as the "future of tennis" yesterday after she became the youngest Australian Open second-round winner since Martina Hingis in 1996.

The 15-year-old was rewarded with an all-Ukrainian clash against fourth seed Elina Svitolina as her fairy-tale run at the year's first Grand Slam continued after defeating local wildcard Olivia Rogowska 6-3, 7-5.

It had commentators gushing as she extended her win streak at Melbourne Park to an incredible 11 matches, after lifting last year's Australian Open girls' title and coming through qualifying this year.

"This is the future, ladies and gentlemen. Fifteen years of age," said former British No. 1 Sam Smith on Australia's Channel 7.

Before the start of the week Kostyuk's total career prize money was US$6,733 (S$8,900), but she already has plans for the US$142,500 pay day she will earn even if she loses to Svitolina in the third round.

"Maybe I will get presents for my family, first of all, of course, because I have big family," she said. "And then for myself a bit. Yeah." - AFP